When it comes to innovation in retail, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking centre stage. The Digital Retail Innovations Report 2018 from Retail Insider ranks the top 60 global retail tech initiatives of the last 12 months; almost 40% of which were AI innovations.
The report underlines how AI is being used to deliver everything from speedy payment systems to tailored product suggestions. The innovations were ranked by a panel of industry experts. Let’s look at some of the most interesting retail innovations.
Give me everything I want, Alexa
The top-rated retail innovation is Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, which runs on almost seven in ten smart speakers sold in 2017. The Echo speakers can recognise different voices within a household, enabling personalised engagement with family members. The system’s functionality continues to expand - for example, the visual system now connects with the social media platform Spark so users can ask for fashion advice from other users.
The end of waiting for the waiter
Customers do not like waiting – so retailers are offering faster ways to pay. Amazon Go’s ‘frictionless’ convenience stores use cameras and sensors instead of checkouts, while Pizza Express has paired with Flyt to enable diners to pay using an app without the hassle of getting a waiter’s attention. The system also features offers and vouchers to develop customer loyalty.
Trainers that are fast from the get-go
Adidas’ SpeedFactory located in Germany has replaced machinists with robots supervised by humans, slashing the time it takes to make a pair of shoes. The process from raw materials to finished product takes a single day rather than a month, and the robots are adjustable so tiny changes such as personalisation can be easily added to the process.
Checkin’ on the chicken
All retailers face a challenge to produce items for low cost without compromising the quality or ethics of their supply chain. Carrefour has developed a way to use blockchain technology to record each stage of the process for their free-range chicken, with this information made accessible to customers through a QR code on the product.
Where did you get that shirt?
Tommy Hilfiger is cutting down the leg work for consumers who see a product they like – the ‘See Now, Buy Now’ image recognition software from Slyce is used to match images with products in-store or online, boosting order values by 20% and conversion rates by 60%. The capability uses machine learning to improve classifiers and detectors, making the matches better and better over time.
Behind top innovations, there’s a brilliant project team
AI projects are immensely rewarding if challenging to realise. It takes a strong, driven team to see the development through from conception to delivery. We’re looking for Delivery & Transformation professionals who want to explore groundbreaking ideas. If this sounds like you, take a look at our current vacancies.